bags of bones

bags of bones
bags of bones in parchment skin
he is bald – she wears a wig
to cover chemo ravaging 
the wheelchair rattles market cobbles
earth spills from pots of hardy annuals
badly balanced on her lap 
‘watch out! that lorry!’
‘I ain’t blind yet, mother’ 
(his cornea transplant is long overdue) 
‘careful! mind the kerb!
you’re spilling me morning glories
I always said you’ll be the death of me’ 
‘remember when we went walking
the year before you had our Jack?’ 
‘Jack? who’s Jack?’
‘you said the hills looked blue steel grey’ 
‘blue, steel, grey… hills you say?’
‘you wanted to paint them… ‘
‘paint hills? I never painted hills… ‘
‘you couldn’t… we never went back… you had our Jack’
‘our boy, he went away… a while ago…’
a tear welled and trickled
the corrugate skin channel
from her cheek to her chin
‘Jack! so smart in his uniform, is he coming home?
the old man wipes his eyes,
‘any day, mother, any day…’
‘I’ll bake him a Victoria sponge’
‘he’ll love that, mother’
‘is Jack coming for his tea?’
‘you’ll see him soon, he’s on his way’. 

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Another work of beauty from a masterful pen.

The only slight edit I would make is

“to cover chemo’s ravaging”


I don’t like to reply to crits normally but I’d just like to say, having suffered it ten years ago, I think chemo ravaging is pretty spot on. Sorry Bh

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